In 2010, I commissioned a poem from Jacqueline Suskin at her Poem Store. The prompt was Sagittarius.
I still love this poem. It reminds me of my last full year in Los Angeles, the year I decided to move to Berlin, and I think it perfectly captures that moment. What a time that was – so turbulent and uncertain!
Please check out Jacqueline’s work. It’s fantastic!
Here’s Joel Isaac Black in 2011, masterfully using a vintage Akai sampler. You can hear the sampler at the top of our song “Everyone But You” off of our self-titled debut album. The album was recorded at The Cave Studio in L.A. with Josiah Mazzaschi producing. Josiah was wonderful to work with and entertained every half-decent idea. When we approached him about sampling monkey sounds at the top of a song, he was on board. Joel and I played the cheeky monkeys, and if you know us, that makes a lot of sense.
This is my favorite verse from that song: ”I laid a divorcée in New York City / I had to put up some kind of a fight / The lady then she covered me with roses / She blew my nose and then she blew my mind”. Beautiful!
The sunset strip wasn’t really our scene, but in 2009, when the The Cribs and Johnny Marr called, we came running. The Roxy is a legendary L.A. venue, and a stopping point for huge acts, so it was exciting for us to play there. Naturally, we tore it up.
2011: Fresh off the airplane and into the Keller. Joel Isaac Black comes in from Dallas and we put together a band, consisting of Jack Wharton and Adam Neal of Eight Legs. Afterwards, we DJ with Dyan Valdes at one of White Trаsh Fast Food ‘s legendary indie parties. We quickly learned that we weren’t in L.A. anymore. The night raged on. Check out the photo evidence below.
It was wonderful to grab coffee with radio giant Mark Sovel today at HEIDE’s Deli. The Blood Arm used to religiously listen to the station he ran, Indie 103.1, and his show with Steve Jones of Sex Pistols, Jonesy’s Jukebox, back when we lived in L.A. He interviewed us, played our music and acted as a conduit for the scene out there. He’s an absolute legend and I’m honored to be wearing matching t-shirts in this photo. Thank you, Mark.
Back in L.A. there are parties dedicated to Morrissey and The Smiths at venues around town. For October’s Selfie Playlist, I wanted to capture those feelings of youthful abandon, togetherness and community that those parties represent. So, imagine you are on the dance floor of The Echo in Los Angeles, beer in hand, surrounded by Latinxs with pompadours, shouting along to lyrics about violence and poetry in Manchester, England. Then press play.
Selfie Playlist 3: Morrissey Dance Party
1. London – The Smiths 2. Glamorous Glue – Morrissey 3. The Last of the Famous International Playboys – Morrissey 4. Rusholme Ruffians – The Smiths 5. Vicar in a Tutu – The Smiths 6. Something is Squeezing My Skull – Morrissey 7. First of the Gang to Die – Morrissey 8. Ask – The Smiths 9. I Don’t Mind If You Forget Me – Morrissey 10. Sing Your Life – Live at KROQ – Morrissey 11. Sister I’m a Poet – Morrissey 12. Hand in Glove – The Smiths 13. Suedehead – Morrissey